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Old 07-28-2007, 07:58 PM   #1
Slipstream2006
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Dual Boot (Disk1-Linux, Disk2-Windows)


Hello, I'm setting-up (or at least trying) a dual-boot configuration for someone. I've read lots of threads and articles about it, but I'm still kind of unclear about how to proceed. Here's my simple proposal...

Disk1---SuSE Linux; currently with default GRUB; /boot is mounted inside /(root) directory in primary partition 1.

Disk2---WindowsXP is to go here; Root of installation in primary partition 1.


Needless to say, MS doesn't make these things easy. Firstly, according to my understanding, it installs its bootloader on Disk1, even though I don't want it there. Secondly, I can't simply reverse disk positions for duration of the install because drive letter assignments for Windows boot directory (equivalent to root on Linux) won't work after I switch the disks back to their proper order as shown above.

These are my assumptions. Are they correct? To make this work, should I just let Windows' bootloader install itself on Disk1's MBR---and then re-install GRUB afterwards, configured to display a menu? I'm not so confident about re-installing GRUB, so is there an easier way?

Thanks for enduring my long post. Looking forward to good suggestions.

Last edited by Slipstream2006; 07-28-2007 at 08:01 PM.
 
Old 07-28-2007, 08:12 PM   #2
jay73
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Yes, you can overwrite the MBR with GRUB after you have installed windows. You could also unplug the other disk so Windows doesn't get a chance to write to the other disk. And I don't really understand what doesn't work if you reverse the disks? Surely Windows stays in the same partition, which by definition is always C (unless you explicitly make it something else) - how can this change if the order is reversed after installing?
 
Old 07-28-2007, 09:33 PM   #3
Slipstream2006
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Thanks for the replies jay73...

Quote:
Originally Posted by jay73
You could also unplug the other disk so Windows doesn't get a chance to write to the other disk.
Well, I'll do an unattended installation for Windows, whereby the Documents and Settings, Temporary Files and printer spool will be on separate Disk1 partitions for performance. However, I might be able to install everything on Disk2 (placed in position 1, as you say) and then copy those partitions over to the other disk after I switch the disk back to position 2, as intended. As far as I know, those drive letters can be changed to reflect the new values. Problem solved.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jay73
And I don't really understand what doesn't work if you reverse the disks? Surely Windows stays in the same partition, which by definition is always C (unless you explicitly make it something else)
As far as I know, the bios assigns new drive letters each time, upon bootup. Of course, they're the same each time if the partition scheme doesn't change. The ordering seems to go like this...

C: Disk1, Primary1
E: Disk2, Primary1

If I switch the disks, then my Windows boot directory becomes E:. However, Windows will remember it as C:. I know the registry can be edited, but it's said to be risky.
 
Old 07-28-2007, 10:08 PM   #4
jay73
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Hmm, I don't think it really works that way. The drive letters are not assigned by BIOS but by the operating system - in other words, Windows will always consider its root partition to be the C partition. I've got XP64 on my fourth disk right now although it was originally on the first one (and at times it was on second and third disks); it just keeps working. Windows is nothing like, say, BSD (which will definitely give you headaches if you start reversing BIOS disk order).

As for moving out certain parts from the root partition, that should work fine. You can easily move virtual memory, temporary files and your personal folders to another partition.
 
Old 07-28-2007, 11:04 PM   #5
Slipstream2006
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Thanks, that sounds encouraging! I can probably switch both disks, install all the directories mentioned above on my desired partitions and then switch the disks back to original bios order. It might be tricky though, because it might require reassigning the drive letters (all except C: ) before I shut-down and switch the disks. Otherwise, it won't boot-up after switching...I think.

If it works, then I'll be very happy. I'll try it tomorrow and report back.

Last edited by Slipstream2006; 07-28-2007 at 11:06 PM.
 
Old 07-28-2007, 11:32 PM   #6
jay73
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One final hint: if you want to boot windows from a drive other than the first one, you 'll need to "map" it in GRUB - i.e. windows really wants to be on the first disk so it will normally refuse to come up if it's not; however, just a little hack will do to fool it into thinking it really is on the first disk. Simply use this in your grub menu.lst:
title Windows XP
rootnoverify (hd0,0)
map (hd0) (hd1)
map (hd1) (hd0)
makeactive
chainloader +1
 
  


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